Activist & Pioneer Nurse

From Hero to Zero by Anne Clark RN

The World we live in changed dramatically in Canada in March when the COVID 19 virus was declared a national emergency. A travel advisory was issued by the Canadian Government and our border with the USA was closed later that month. People in Ontario were falling dangerously ill with the Virus in ever increasing numbers and then the Virus erupted amongst our most vulnerable elderly in LTC. The death toll was rising as the most vulnerable died in increasing numbers. Nurses were working without the proper Personal Protective Equipment, caring for the sick and dying at the cost of their own health and safety.

Amidst all this death and panic Nurses were hailed as “Heroes” 

by the Ontario Government and the people of Ontario. They were hailed as such on the nightly news and by people gathering on balconies on their front porches to bang pots and pans and thank them every evening at 7 pm for their sacrifice. Nurses saved Ontario. Sadly the Nurses awake to grim reality with the Arbitration award delivered on the latest round of Collective Bargaining. The Government had passed Bill 124 which targeted them and denied them fair bargaining. Bill 124 imposed a 1% wage increase. So the Heroes who saved Ontario in its hour of need were worth a 1% raise?

This action imposed on them by the Government, galvanized the members of ONA as they have never been before. Nurses became politically active and took to the streets in protest, to inform the citizens of Ontario and the Government that they were not taking this slap in the face without fighting back. The Government also passed Bill 195 further stripping rights regarding hours of work and reassignment under the ONA Collective agreement. Nurses were again singled out to bear the brunt of the COVID crisis. 

We have held Rallies all over the Province and in Ottawa protesting outside a different Government Minister’s office every week. I have been proud to be part of these Rallies here in Ottawa. Heroes do not deserve this treatment. We will not forget this disrespect come the next election, nor will our families.

The Defiance of Florence Nightingale SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE | MARCH 2020

By Joshua Hammer | Photographs by Tina Hillier (Passed Away Oct. 2019)

Scholars are finding there’s much more to the “lady with the lamp” than her famous exploits as a nurse in the Crimean War.

She’s the “avenging angel,” the “ministering angel,” the “lady with the lamp”—the brave woman whose name would become synonymous with selflessness and compassion. Yet as Britain prepares to celebrate Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday on May 12—with a wreath-laying at Waterloo Place, a special version of the annual Procession of the Lamp at Westminster Abbey, a two-day conference on nursing and global health sponsored by the Florence Nightingale Foundation, and tours of her summer home in Derbyshire—scholars are debating her reputation and accomplishments.

For Full Article Click Here 


Who Is Florence Nightingale

  • Activist and pioneer in Nursing
  • Born in 1820 in Florence, Italy
  • Established the first nursing school worldwide in London, England
  • A mentor and role model in Nursing
  • Author,  systems thinker and pioneer public health reformer

Read more…


Our Bookmark

Definitions On Health

Available upon request. We look forward to sharing it with you.

Definitions assist us to reflect and understand our nursing practices and ourselves. Take a look and submit your own definition on Health.  What does it mean to you?

1. World Health Organization (WHO)
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

2. Nightingale
Health is not only to be well, but to be able to use well every power we have.

3. Carolyn
Health is a recognition of health limits and an ability to seek treatment with compliance towards a balance physically and mentally with optimal function. 

Definition On Nursing

1. Virginia Henderson, Nurse Theorist, 1966
The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery or to a peaceful death that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge and to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible.

This definition has been adopted by the International Council of Nurses and distributed around the world.

Unusual Kindness

The phrase “unusual kindness” is of a religious nature – Act 28.2, and covers Nightingale in reference historically. It makes you think how important it is to be kind to each other and patient as well. With the stresses upon us it is easy to snap and be unruly in how we communicate. Nurses are known for being caring but kind as well – most important at these times.

Did You Know?

Nightingale was well ahead of her time!

She had identified the correlation between the physical hospital environment and health outcomes of patients.

Her strong credentials in the use of statisticians saw her become the first woman inducted into the Royal Statistical Society in 1858 in the UK.

Click here for the Public Health Legacy of Florence Nightingale: A Lesson For Covid-19

What Nursing Means To Me

1. “2020 is a special year for Nurses around the world given the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale (The Lady with the Lamp). It is also marks the saddest times since the Spanish Flu of 1918. It has taken an international Pandemic disaster of Covid-19 around the world to recognize the value of nurses sacrificing their lives for others. We are ordinary people doing extraordinary things for those entrusted to us. Stress, isolation and fear are by-products of this Pandemic. We must take care of ourselves physically and emotionally to be prepared for the uncertainty that awaits us. Today we have many Florence Nightingales among us.”

 Vicky Thomas, RN Carefree Lodge, Scarborough

 2. “What does nursing mean to me is the ability to connect with another human being on a level that not much professionals have the opportunity to ability to help someone else in their day-to-day struggles with disease, survival, and if necessary, end of life support for them and their families. It’s a feeling like no other that you’ve accomplished for the end of the day.”

By Ingrid Garrick, RN Princess Margaret Hospital

 3. “Celebrating Florence Nightingale during Corona Virus Pandemic: Florence Nightingale’s legacy is especially relevant during this global crisis. Her leadership in caring for wounded soldiers using a scientific approach helped in their recovery. Her compassion for the downtrodden across national boundaries with her work among India’s most vulnerable and  protected many against starvation, and she demonstrated  compassion and the irrelevance of class lines or social status when she advocated for the rights of prostitutes. What is needed to get us through this crisis: science, compassion, and leadership; the very values and lessons of Florence Nightingale. Happy Nurses Week to all Nurses!”

By Sophia Lilly, RN North York General

4. “To me nursing is about teamwork, support and community. For the past month I have been working on a COVID positive floor. With the support created from our unit, we have been able to come and help the most vulnerable. I am honored  to be a nurse during this pandemic and be able to offer comfort and care to many.”

Lisa Romano, RN University Health Network

5. “Being a nurse means being there for a total strangers night and day. Nurses are advocates, leaders, professionals and collaborators. Nursing is selflessness. We put the patient our priority first. The patient must be able to trust us. We must take care of our patient with love, compassion, respect, dignity as if it is were our family member.”

Christina Buco, RN Princess Margaret Hospital


Please send us your thoughts on nursing!

In Collaboration with Dr. Lynn McDonald Professor Emerita

Lynn is an author of several books on Nightingale-most recently; Florence Nightingale, Nursing, and Health Care Today and the Collected Works of Nightingale. She is also a climate activist, prison reformer and former Member of Parliament. You can connect with her for more information on Nightingale in Backgrounders at She is cofounder and current chair of The Nightingale Society and has been a great support and inspiration to us throughout the last year. We do connect with her and other nursing colleagues from California and Ohio on a regular basis- sharing ideas on how best to recognize and promote Nightingale.

The Nightingale 2021 Team

Anne Clark RN

Retired Nurse and former ONA Board member

Nightingale Authority

Carolyn Edgar RN

Retired Nurse

Student in labour Studies -McMaster University

Cristina Buco RN

Frontline Nurse at PMH

Return to Work at
local 097

Eleanor Adarna RN

TGH Site Rep

Local 97 Executive Secretary Health and Safety Lead Rep